In what can be termed as great news, scientists have revealed that carbon dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically since countries around the world went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown has led to a steep fall in global carbon emissions by 17% in early April, as compared to 2019 levels with India's emissions dropping by 26%. This fall is said to be the largest annual decrease since World War II.
An international study published in the UK-based journal National Climate Change showed that the world experienced a sharp decline in carbon emissions between January and April, compared to average levels in 2019, and could register an overall decline between 4.4% to 8% by the end of this year.
Countries like the UK and the US reduced 30.7% and 31.6% emissions respectively, while China's emissions reduced by 23.9%.
"Emissions from land transport accounted for almost half (43%) of the decrease, while power generation accounted for 19%, industry for 25%, and aviation for 10%," the research said. The researchers found that after the lockdown is lifted, a reduction in carbon emissions could amount to about 4% by the end of the year.
Experts are of the opinion that the dramatic fall is just a temporary phase as the lockdowns across the world do not reflect structural changes in economic, transport, or energy systems.
"The decrease in emissions this year will not do much to impact climate change, as it is extremely small compared to the emissions accumulated so far, and compared to the emissions cuts needed to tackle climate change," the study added.
As countries gradually begin to ease the lockdown, over the course of the year the annual decline is likely to be only about 7% if some restrictions to halt the virus remain in place. However, if they are lifted in mid-June, the fall for the year is likely to be only 4%. Despite the steep fall in the emissions, the fall is said to make a negligible difference as the lockdowns have caused steep falls in energy demand but means of energy production have hardly been changed by the crisis.
(With PTI inputs)